Original Article
Korean J Prev Med. 1997; 30(1): 77-102.
Health Assessment for Glass Fibre Landfill at Gozan-dong, Inchon.
Soo Hun Cho, Yeong Su Ju, Kyung Ryul Kim, Kang Kun Led, Kug Sun Hong, Hee Chul Eum, Dong Bim Song, Jae Woong Hong, Ho Jang Kwon, Mi Na Ha, Sang Hwan Han, Jpp Heon Seong, and Jong Won Kang
1Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
2Department of Oceanograpphy, College of Natural Science, SNU, Korea.
3Department of Geological Science, College of Natural Science, SNU, Korea.
4School of Materials Science and Engineering, SNU, Korea.
5Department of Demartology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
6Institute of Occupational Health, Gil Medical Center, Korea.
7Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Inha University Medical College, Korea.
8Department of Preventive Medicine, Dankuk University College of Medicine, Korea.
In September 1994, residents of Gozan-dong, Incheon City, made a petition to the government about their health problems which might be caused by previous glass fibre landfill nearby "H" company. In February 1995, at regular academic meeting of occupational and environmental medicine, a research team of "D" University presented that they had found glass fibres in groundwater of the area through their survey. They were suspicious of probable association between ingestion of groundwater contaminated with glass fibres and skin tumors among residents. A joint research team was formed and carried out the survey of environment concerning groundwater and its glass fibre existence, and health assessment of residents in the area and industrial workers of "H" company during May to November, 1995. Analysis of groundwater flow system indicates that the flow lines from the glass fibre landfill pass through or terminate at the 6 houses around the landfill. This means that the groundwater of the 6 houses around the glass fibre landfill could be affected by some possible contaminants from the landfill, but the groundwater quality of the other houses was irrelevant to the landfill. The qualitative and quatitative analyses for glass fibres in 54 groundwater samples including those from the nearby 6 houses, were carried out using SEM equipped with EDS, resulting in no evidence for the presence of glass fibres in the waters. Major precipitates, formed in waters while boiling, were identified as calcium carbonates, in particulary, aragonites in needle form. The results of health assessments of 889 residents in Gozan-dong, participated in this study, showed statistically significant differences in past medical histories of skin tumor and respiratory disease between the exposed group (31 persons who inhabited in 6 houses around the landfill) and the control group, but no significant differences in past medical histories of other diseases, such as cancer mortality, current gastroscopic findings, current skin diseases and respiratory diseases, etc. Also, we could not prove any glass fibres in excised specimens of 9 skin tumors in both groups and there were no health problems possibly associated with glass fibres in employees of the "H" company. After all, we could not authenticate the association, raised by prior investigators, between groundwater streams, assumedly contaminated with glass fibres or not, and specific disease morbidities or common disease/symptom prevalences. That is, we could not find any glass fibres in groundwater as the only exposure factor of this study hypothesis, and there were not enough certain evidences such as increasing disease prevalences, for examples, skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases etc, possibly related to glass fibre exposure, in exposed group. As a matter of course, the conditions for confirming causal association, for example, strength of the association, consistency of the association, specificity of the association, temporality of the association and dose-response relationship etc, have not been satisfied. In conclusion, we were not able to certify the hypothesis that contamination of groundwater with glass fibres might cause any hazardous health effects in human who used it for drinking.
Keywords : glass fibre;groundwater contamination;ingestion;Gozan-dong